Serena Williams says she'll play in the 2020 US Open
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Serena Williams says she’ll play in the 2020 US Open

By Tommy Fradenburg

Contributing Writer for Telegraph Local | See @tommyfradenburg

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo cleared the United States Tennis Association’s plan for a 2020 US Open on Tuesday; and Serena Williams confirms she’ll be part of the field.

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“I really cannot wait to return in New York and play the US Open 2020,” said the 23-time Grand Slam champion.

“I feel like the USTA is going to do a really good job of ensuring everything is amazing and everything is perfect and everyone is safe. It’s going to be exciting. It’s been over six months since a lot of us have played professional tennis.”

The tournament will reportedly run from August 31st – September 1 without fans and feature “extraordinary precautions.”

Like most sports, the COIVD-19 pandemic brought the tennis circuit to a halt. Officials postponed the French Open and cancelled Wimbledon all together for the first time since 1945; but the US Open marks a return for the game, even if it looks different.

“I’ll certainly miss the fans, don’t get me wrong, just being out there and that New York crowd and hearing everyone cheer,” Williams said. “I’ll really miss that getting me through some of those tough matches.”

Last week however the event seemed poised to become yet another Corona casualty. Video conferences with more than 400 players last week; with some apparently wide ranges of opinions.

We have less than a week to go, so we need to finalize what we will do,” said USTA president Patrick Galbraith last week.

An Even Playing Court?

While USTA and the New York government have okay’d the tournament and Williams has expressed eagerness to participate, some other big names still feel wary.

Novak Djokovic and Ash Barty, the top-ranked men’s and women’s players in the world, are worried about the indoor facilities; which were used as temporary lodging for hundreds of Coronavirus patients.

Other players feel they aren’t near enough to match shape; as outdoor restrictions and player’s access to tennis courts varied from place to place.

“There’s no way right now you could consider this a level playing field, because it’s so different depending on where you are,” said 28-year-old American Coco Vandeweghe.

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“Some states have more fluidity than others in what you’re able to do, [if you can] go outside, go for a walk, go for a run. Some countries and states you’re unable to do that unless you’re going to the grocery store or doing something that’s considered absolute necessary.”

But with a $70 million television deal at stake and other sports returning both in the United States and around the world; officials decided the show could indeed go on. Just not how many expected.

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